Parasitism (social offense)

Parasitism (social offense)

: "This article describes parasitism as a social offense in human society. For parasitism in the animal world, see Parasitism."

Social parasite is a derogatory term denoting a group or class in society which is considered to be detrimental to others, by taking advantage of them in some way. __TOC__In various countries at various times, especially during periods of social unrest, such as the French Revolution or Russian Revolution, whole social classes, such as the aristocracy, bourgeoisie and particularly rentiers were accused of living off unearned income, and hence declared parasitic, as opposed to the working class.

The text of "The Internationale", the famous socialist song, later adopted as the hymn of the Soviet Union (from 1917 to 1941), in a number of languages contains lines that refer to parasites. For example, the Russian text reads:

Concepts of parasitic social classes are not limited to the political Left. While the Left sees various kinds of elites as parasitic, the theories of various libertarian philosophers and free market economists from the political Right, such as Milton Friedman, have accused certain categories of unworking poor ("freeriders" or "freeloaders") of being social parasites; likewise, since the creation of welfare states in the mid 20th century, some free market advocates have accused welfare recipients of being parasites [ [ Refers to Katrina victims as a "parasite class"] ] .This view is especially prevalent among the more economically liberal (i.e. free market) fringe of American conservatives, who consider the "welfare bum" to be the quintessential social parasite.

Historical Cases


Parasite singles (パラサイトシングル, parasaito shinguru) is a Japanese expression for people who live with their parents until their late twenties or early thirties in order to enjoy a carefree and comfortable life. The expression parasitic singles is sometimes used also.

Nazi Germany

In Nazi Germany, a propaganda campaign was launched to portray the mentally ill as parasites on society, as a part of the racial hygiene doctrine. See T-4 Euthanasia Program for more.

The Nazis also viewed Jews and other groups as subhuman or untermensch, often describing them as, or comparing them to, parasites, rats, or other vermin.

oviet Union

In the Soviet Union, which claimed to be a workers' state, every adult able-bodied person was obliged to work until official retirement. Thus unemployment was officially eliminated; those who did not work, study or serve, risked being criminally charged with "social parasitism" ( _ru. тунея́дство) and declared an enemy of the workers.

Charges of parasitism frequently applied to dissidents and refuseniks. Many of them were intellectuals. Since their writings were against the regime, the state prevented them from obtaining employment. To avoid trials for parasitism, many of them took unskilled (but not especially time-consuming) jobs (street sweepers, fire-keepers, etc.) which allowed them to continue their literary or research work.

The list of those arrested and charged with the crime of "social parasitism" contains many notable names. Among them is the poet Joseph Brodsky, who was sentenced in 1964 to five years of banishment from Leningrad into Arkhangelsk Oblast. In 1987 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

ee also

*Enemy of the people
*Productive and unproductive labour
*The Ant and the Grasshopper


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